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Your Rights as a Driver if You Hit a Stationary Object

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 24 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Rights As A Driver If You Hit A Stationary Object

If you are involved in a road traffic accident that involves a stationary object, it will often be assumed that you are automatically at fault – because you were driving a moving vehicle and the object or car that you hit was still - but is this always the case?

There are lots of accidents including stationary objects every day, most often involving skips, a car being parked in an unusual or dangerous place or unlit road works, and you might find that whoever left the object there may be liable to some extent.

What To Do If The Accident Was Not Your Fault

Whether the stationary object that you hit was in the road itself or at the side of it, if you feel that the collision wasn’t entirely your fault you should make notes and take photographs of the scene and the object in question so that you can provide evidence if the matter is investigated further by the police or by your insurance company.

There are several factors from which it can determined whether or not you are considered to be responsible for the incident. To determine this you will need to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and return to the scene of the bump and consider the following questions:

  • Was the item marked so that it was visible to an approaching driver?
  • If the collision occurred at night was the object lit so that approaching driver could see it clearly and give themselves time to avoid it? In the case of skips there should be flashing lights to indicate where the skip starts and ends, and how far away from the road it is.
  • If the object was not clearly lit or made visible then the owner is responsible. This is usually in the case of parked cars or private skips. If there were roadworks involved, or a hole dug in the road, then whoever is in charge of carrying out the work is responsible and needs to be contacted. You may need to check the item carefully to see if you can figure out who the owners are - a utility company such as gas, electricity or water board, a contractor carrying out work for a private or public company, or perhaps a local authority. Make a note of the owners contact details, or ask around to find out who the obstruction belongs to or is the responsibility of.
  • Once you have this information, set about taking any photographic evidence that you can to prove your point.
  • If the object was unlit or in a dangerous position, make sure you take photographs that illustrate this, and try to include something in the photograph that can indicate scale - for example, a CD.
  • If the object has been left actually on the road in an unsafe position or in a way that contravenes the highway code then the owner of the vehicle or object may be found to be liable for the accident.
  • If there have been any previous accidents or issues caused by the obstruction, then it is likely that this could count as evidence that the object was the reason that the accident took place, or at least was a contributing factor.
  • If possible you should gather any witness who saw the collision and would be willing to say that the object you hit constituted a dangerous obstruction, and that it was not your fault that you could avoid it.

It’s always worth remembering that without proof to the contrary, it is likely that a court or insurance company will believe that it is your fault and will assume either a fault claim or a split fault claim with the owner of the object. So the best tip is for you to collect as much information and evidence from the scene as you can, to corroborate your story.

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Our car was parked outside of our house and sometime on Wednesday last week someone crashed into the back of our vehicle. The person left a number (which has been off and going to an un-personalised voicemail) but we've had no luck contacting them. Do you have any tips on how to reduce the impact in our insurance premiums and what we have to pay if the driver cannot be traced? Is there something else we can claim from as this is completely not our fault.
AnnoyedSE3 - 24-Apr-17 @ 9:24 PM
I pulled into use an airline at a business complex yard as my tyre was soft. The van infront of me had pulled over to my right in the middle of the yard, i had pulled up to the airline which was on my left and had the car stationery my partner then continued to get out of the passenger side to blow up my tyre as he done so the van reversed straight back into the drivers side back door. He hit my car that hard the car ended up hitting my partner on the legs. I jumped out of the car straight away as my child was on the side he hit. The man accepted he didnt check his mirrors and didnt know i was there. Am i at fault as he was reversing when i pulled in but was a good bit away from me. I was stationery when he hit my car and my partner had time to get out of the car before it happened?
Shann - 24-Apr-17 @ 7:11 PM
Nik - Your Question:
Hi I back out my drive and reversed into the car parked opposite me it was entirely my fault I not disputing that but the damage seemed minor and I said I would pay get a quote as I have to pay £500 excess I didnt think it would be to much more than that not really taking much notice it was a limited addition bmw mini. he has obviously taken it to bmw and they have quoted £2500 for repairs absolutly gob smacked I asked if they would get another quote in which he said the make of the car which in her words she isn't having it fixed at daves autos. understandable but now I left it 5 days to report to my insurance will they a 100% pay out and will they request other quotes I've just looked at insurance for the new car I was buying and it's now gone up a grand devastated as I need a car to get my kids to school and I can't afford another grand a year on top of the extortionate insurance I was paying any way

Our Response:
If it's your fault and you don't want to go through your insurance, you don't really have a choice in the matter. Check the small print of your insurance policy too as many insurers insist that you report or accidents whether or not you want to claim.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:33 PM
Hi i back out my drive and reversed into the car parked opposite me it was entirely my fault I not disputing that but the damage seemed minor and I said I would pay get a quote as I have to pay £500 excess I didnt think it would be to much more than that not really taking much notice it was a limited addition bmw mini... he has obviously taken it to bmw and they have quoted £2500 for repairs absolutly gob smacked I asked if they would get another quote in which he said the make of the car which in her words she isn't having it fixed at daves autos.. understandable but now i left it 5 days to report to my insurance will they a 100% pay out and will they request other quotes I've just looked at insurance for the new car I was buying and it's now gone up a grand devastated as I need a car to get my kids to school and I can't afford another grand a year on top of the extortionate insurance i was paying any way
Nik - 16-Apr-17 @ 8:25 AM
I was loading my son into our car and strapping him into his car seat when another car drove past, clipping my open car door with his wing mirror. He drove away and parked further up the street. There was no damage to my car so I continued to settle my children into the car which took several minutes. Once finished, I drove away and continued with my daily business as usual. Later that evening I was informed by a neighbour that a man had been looking for me as I had caused damage to his car. His version was that I had opened the door whilst he was driving past. I did not as I was already stood in the road with the car door open, trying to buckle my son into his car seat when he drove along the road so my door did not suddenly open or even open any further. He says I left the scene of an accident. Where do I stand on this? He made no attempt to come and speak to me afterwards and I was there for a good five minutes or so afterwards.
H - 14-Apr-17 @ 12:08 AM
My partner was picking up our daughter from nursery and revered into a parked car that was in a no parking zone. There has been damage to both cars and my partner didn't take photos of the damage of the other car but did exchange insurance details. The other driver stated she would contact her insurance to make a claim but where do we stand in regards to the other driver parking in a no parking zone when the incident happened. Thank you
Will - 23-Mar-17 @ 7:35 PM
Den. Your fault as you struck another vehicle. Should have taken more care when reversing. Atlantica. The other girl who hit the door. Lins85. 5 months is not a reasonable amount for time to wait. God only knows what other damage has happened to the car which they want you to fix. Johntheone. You struck his vehicle, your at fault. Garageman, did you take photos of parking issue and complain to car park operator. If they wish to go through insurance and have the car fixed by an approved repairer as opposed to some back street cowboy you recommend. That is their choice. Blacky. Yes they can, ignorance is no defence, but what evidence do they have to back their claim. Smudge. Exchange details and go through insurance companies. That's why we pay them.
Robert peel. - 16-Mar-17 @ 11:05 AM
As I reversed out of my driveway on to my narrow street I hit a car parked across the road that was parked across another home-owners driveway but not a proper parking space. The car owner was a driving instructor and was waiting in the car for her student. I feel she should be as responsible as me as she was parked 'illegally'. Who is at fault?
Den - 7-Mar-17 @ 2:21 PM
Purple - Your Question:
I was parked at my kids school and was blocked in there was a parking space next to me so I pulled out in doing so I scrathed my car on their bumper they had more paint on their car bumper than I actually lost from my car where do I stand as I feel these are people who will try and make a claim

Our Response:
Unfortunately, we can't advise on this kind of thing as we don't have both parties' versions of the event.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 1-Mar-17 @ 11:20 AM
My daughter was parked beside her friends car. The passenger of her friends car got out and opened the door (after being told not) and hit my daughters car with their door. Who is responsible for the damage to my daughter car?
Atlantica1965 - 28-Feb-17 @ 3:21 PM
I was parked at my kids school and was blocked in there was a parking space next to me so i pulled out in doing so i scrathed my car on their bumper they had more paint on their car bumper than i actually lost from my car where do i stand as i feel these are people who will try and make a claim
Purple - 27-Feb-17 @ 3:33 PM
Five months ago I reversed into a neighbours car. I told him and offered to pay. He said he would get back to me. Only now he has got back to me with a quote. Is five months a reasonable time to wait?
Lins85 - 20-Feb-17 @ 10:35 PM
My car was hit in the back a write off it was parked outside a cementary gate. My husband and I are both disabled. The man admits responsibility What happens now
Smudge - 16-Feb-17 @ 10:49 PM
Johntheone - Your Question:
I was parked In my disabled place There was a car parked across from me on double yellows I have marked his bumper trying to get out now he's putting a claim in against me what's my rights

Our Response:
You will have to let the legal/insurances companies sort this one out we're afraid. We don't have any information about the width of the road, nor knowledge of who would be liable in this kind of case.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 16-Feb-17 @ 11:19 AM
I was parked In my disabled place There was a car parked across from me on double yellows I have marked his bumper trying to get out now he's putting a claim in against me what's my rights
Johntheone - 15-Feb-17 @ 11:48 AM
On backing out of a parking space in a local store car park, there was a car parked against the wall (not in a designated space) across my car. On trying to manoeuvre out of the space I clipped the passenger door of the car. I waited to see if the owner of the car was about. Upon her return I gave her my details and offered to get the car repaired. She now wishes to go through my insurance. I do not, as I was offering to have the car repaired and painted but feel it was not totally my fault as she was illegally parked making it difficult for me to get out. Where do I stand?
Garageman - 13-Feb-17 @ 10:07 PM
I worked for a agency , they accused me of backing into a wall ? I have no recollection of doing it They are threatening the police are coming Can I be prosecuted even though I really can't remember doing it
Blacky - 10-Feb-17 @ 9:56 PM
Hi, Over the weekend I got in to a pretty serious accident where I hit a parked vehicle. I was driving down a very dark and narrow residential area with no street lighting and I hit the back of a black car which was covered in dirt, to the point where I got no reflections from the car until I was no more than 5/6 feet away by which point I had no time but to swerve fast to the right. I clipped this car and rolled down the road 2/3 times. I am being told by my insurance that this was nobody's fault but mine as it was a parked vehicle and I could have stopped or could have been driving in the center of the road? I do feel like there was nothing I could have done to avoid this accident, I had a witness to stay I wasn't speeding and lots of people including the police and paramedics say there was no way I could have seen the vehicle on the side of the road in the state it was in. I don't have photos of the accident scene as I was taken by the paramedics, I am hoping that one of the officers took these photos and put them into their accident report. I do however have photos of the car in question a few days after from the police compound which clearly shows that the number plate and reflection lights are not visible. Do I have a case or should I just accept full responsibility?
kawoo1 - 31-Jan-17 @ 11:51 AM
Hi, a couple days ago after I got out of work I went to my car, turned it on, tried to reverse, looked both sides for cars that were coming and also behind me to make sure cars weren't trying to back out as well, and while I was trying to reverse I hit a car that was somehow in my blind spot but also illegally parked blocking other cars from not being able to come out too. The owner of the car was also inside the car with the car on and no signal light nor emergency lights on saying that she was trying to turn or that there was something wrong with her car. To me and my witnesses it was clear that she was parked there just because she didn't wanna go park far for whenever her daughter would come out of work too. Would it still be consider my fault even though she was not supposed to be parked there?
Judy - 24-Jan-17 @ 5:10 PM
I reversed and hit a gate near my university entrance. It's been a while, there were just scathes to the side of my car so I didn't think much of it. But what should I do?
Han - 23-Jan-17 @ 8:09 AM
I was parked in a disabled bay in car parkin Tesco when a Taxi drove accross thedisabled parking bay lines perpendicular to me andscraped all along the bumper of my car and ended up blocking my car inI have pics of his car clearly across disabled bay., anyway, the taxi driver said he was turning into a parking bay behind me and not on duty, working ...I am sure he was on his way to pick up a fare from 'pick up point' as I heard him on his taxi phone asking for another taxi to sort his fare out. The sun was also blinding that evening and I took photos . He is now saying I was at fault by me reversing into him...I am still fuming. His damage was to his front passenger light and wheel arch ...if I hade reversed into him I would have smacked head on into his front of car and I woud have had a big dent in my bumper from impact not a scrape the whole length of my bumper.I would like to know this: if a driver cuts across a disabled parking bay and hits a stationary object i.e. my car, who is at fault?
ladyloz - 19-Jan-17 @ 5:26 PM
I reversed out of my driveway and hit my neighbours friends car which was parked halfway onto the pavement,the street lighting is poor and the car is black which made visibility of it poor. There was little damage to my car but I've been told that the other car will cost £300 to fix!!! What is my position in this?
Unlucky - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:59 PM
As I was trying to find a parking space at the school today I noticepeople are parking in the road next to the allocated parking spaces in single file. Eventually I saw 1 allocated ligitimate parking space so then in a hurry I reversed my car to try and get parking space but instead hit the front of a 4x4, wasn't happy, nor was she as you can imagine. My point is because she was parked in the middle of the road and not in a proper parking space, am I completely in the wrong?
Bex - 11-Jan-17 @ 11:02 PM
Hi, I received CCTV footage from the police that I had reversed into a small collapsible metal post. I had not even noticed it and driven away. I happened to speak to one of the residents there during my visit who said that people hit those posts all the time, but I they would not give their name. How can I prove this is a common occurance? Is there anyway to check if the police have made criminal convictions to others at the same exact spot? Thank you
JamesB - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:14 AM
Network Rail parked on our track, this time with 20 or so vans, they have been using it for years with no charge.However on this occasion we had to squeeze our vehicle through and it knocked a tail light on one of their vans.They are not only claming for damage but for lost time etc etc totalling a good few thousand pounds.A word of caution to anyone letting people use their property.
Msnon - 9-Jan-17 @ 6:11 PM
I was reversing at night off my drive. The road bends directly opposite my house. Therefore when people park on the opposite side it's tricky to get on or off drive. This particular night I hit the car. No damage at all not even a scratch to mine! However unfortunately my neighbours I've dented. He is scrapping his car as engine light on oil leak and bearings but wants cash to compensate. Should I go through insurance what should I do please any advice grateful
Jojo - 6-Jan-17 @ 10:54 AM
nine - Your Question:
I went into a carpark and hit my vehicle on a on the overhanging roof/ poles of a purpose built gazebo metal frame. it was a private shopping owned car park with publc access,{Halfords car n bike centre UK} there was no visible height restriction sign, the construction was not part of the original construction it was added later. I was given some second hand info that it had occured previously at other stores and that some stores had height restriction signs. Halfords said they was not resonsible as I could clearly see there was a construction there{ in otherwords I should of looked up. I was driving a LWB HIGH ROOF FORD TRANSIT VAN

Our Response:
Sounds to us like there should have been warning signs but you might need to consult your insurer or a solicitor if you want to claim compensation.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 22-Dec-16 @ 11:00 AM
i went into a carpark and hit my vehicle on a on the overhanging roof/ poles of a purpose built gazebo metal frame . it was a private shopping owned car park withpublc access,{Halfords car n bike centre UK} there was no visible height restriction sign, the construction was not part of the original construction it was added later. i was given some second hand info that it had occured previously at other stores and that some stores had height restriction signs. Halfords said they was not resonsible as i could clearly see there was a construction there{ in otherwords i should of looked up. i was driving a LWB HIGH ROOF FORD TRANSIT VAN
nine - 21-Dec-16 @ 12:04 AM
Hi I would like to know if I have full liability pls I reversed into a parked car outside my driveway. I know that makes it my fault however I would like to know if the other car owner shares any liability as they were on top of double yellow lines and parked facing the traffic. Thank you
Info on reversing - 16-Dec-16 @ 2:59 PM
india - Your Question:
I was driving at night and hit a Cycle Refuge Island which was not sign posted or painted and I had no visibility of this in the road. I had hit this and my 2 tyres burst which meant I had to pull over and call for a recovery truck which did not arrive until the next day. Can I claim here ? surly these islands need to be sign posted or painted ?

Our Response:
You should seek legal advice if you want to claim compensation for this. Most cycle refuge islands in the UK are accompanied by reflective posts or bollards.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 13-Dec-16 @ 12:37 PM
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